Monthly Archives: December 2015

BEST MUSIC 2015

 

 

2015 was a very detached year musically. For the first time in history I ended up rather shy on notable favourite tracks and there was little that stuck out as the ‘a-ha essential greatest song-moment’ of the year. Things seemed strange, out of sorts. Foreign confusing territory. It was kind of like getting lost on a walk through an unfamiliar park in the mild late winter; I know it’s nice to be getting outside, but I’m not sure where I am, and I want to go home.

What did indie music sound like in 2015 anyway? Much like years past, the 80’s influence is prominent, surf, punk, 60’s, low-fi, and psychedelic, and there was much less of the chilly R&B that’s dominated the past couple years. Tame Impala, Beach House, Kurt Vile, Grimes, & Jamie XX keep their steady indie-cred building with decent albums, while Kendrick Lamar stole the show on intelligent hip-hop and showed he’s creatively way ahead of his peers in the short time he’s been around.

In popular music, Bruno Mars gave us a massive wedding-friendly funk hit for our aunts to dance to while Taylor Swift churned out constant singles from last year’s “I’m pop now” 1989 album. Justin Beiber returned with a surprisingly good record that is beginning his transition into acceptable (almost cool) R&B while The Weeknd proved that he wanted complete and total pop stardom with “I Can’t Feel My Face”. In the fourth quarter Adele completely pummelled the world with “Hello” after some concern of whether people would still care about her emotionally-affected breakup songs.

They still do.

The Indie music realm is much harder to clearly define. You have your buzz bands, your critics favs, and the dime-a-dozen bottom-tier bands struggling to be heard. Wide critical praise for some groups still doesn’t equate to sold out shows or album sales. I saw about fifty concerts this year and nearly all of them were somewhat lackluster turnouts considering their online presence and catalogue. But among them were some of the best concert experiences I’ve had (favourite concert of the year for me was Destroyer in Ferndale, MI).

My picks this year are widely varied. As usual, I’ve made my choices based on songs that have affected me in a special way, the ones I keep returning to. The entire list in ranked order of my personal favourites. Notable artists include Mas Ysa, Majical Cloudz, Chelsea Wolfe, Editors, and The Velvet Teen (who returned after nearly ten years). There are a lot of indie artists scattered throughout this list that are relatively unknown but very much deserving of a listen. As usual, it is always important for me to shine a light on up and coming indie artists. Everything you’ll find below is something that stood out to me for one reason or another, some for the emotional devastation, some for the beauty, some for the lyrics, some for the dance moves, and some for the undeniable vibe. All had magic to them.

Enjoy.

xx

~d.v

(Stream the full list here)

 

100 BEST TRACKS  

 

1. NO HARM | EDITORS

Editors

 

 

2. FLATLINERS | TWIN SHADOW

twin-shadow-eclipse-album-cover

 

 

3. MARGARITA | MAS YSA

masysa-margarita-560x560

 

 

4. SPECTRE | RADIOHEAD

radiohead

 

 

5. TROPIC OF CANCER | PANDA BEAR

panda-bear-meets-the-grim-reaper-608x6081

 

 

6. WAR ON THE EAST COAST | NEW PORNOGRAPHERS

NP_WarOnTheEastCoast_Packshot

 

 

7. REALITI | GRIMES

grime realiti

 

 

8. DOWNTOWN | MAJICAL CLOUDZ

majical-cloudz-are-you-alone-560x5601

 

 

9. THE GIVING IN | THE VELVET TEEN

The Velvet Teen Illusory

 

 

10. GO! | PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

public service broadcastin

 

 

11. CAUSE I’M A MAN | TAME IMPALA

im a man2

 

 

12. INSOMNIA | IAMX

METANOIA_cover

 

 

13. MONTE CARLO | GIRL FRIEND

monte carlo

 

 

14. WITHOUT YOU | TOBIAS JESSO JR.

Tobias Jesso

 

 

15. IRON MOON | CHELSEA WOLFE

Front Cover Digital

 

 

16. JUST YET | FOR ESME’

FOR ESEME'

 

 

17. ALL IS ILLUSORY | THE VELVET TEEN 

the velvet

 

 

18. IF I GET HIGH | NOTHING BUT THIEVES 

Nothing but Thieves

 

 

19. U GUESSED IT | OG MACO

U GUESSED IT

 

 

20. ECLIPSES | THE VELVET TEEN

velvet

 

 

21. BANK ACCOUNTS AND DOLLAR BILLS | SISKIYOU

siskiyou

 

 

22. MAW | CHELSEA WOLFE

chealsea wolfe

 

 

23. SOMETHING SOON | CAR SEAT HEADREST

carseatheadrest-560x560-560x560

 

 

24. LOVEBLOOD | SUNDARA KARMA

sundara

 

 

25. CHA CHA | DRAM

dram-cha-cha

 

 

26. HAPSBURG LIPP | EVERYTHING EVERYTHING

everything

 

 

27. OCEAN OF NIGHT | EDITORS

editors 3

 

 

28. MINISKIRT | BRAIDS

braids miniskirt

 

 

29. FLESH WITHOUT BLOOD | GRIMES

grimes

 

 

30. THE NIGHT JOSH TILMAN CAME TO OUR APT. | FATHER JOHN MISTY

i-love-you-honeybear-400x400

 

 

31. BEAUTIFUL KIDS | MATES OF STATE  

mates-of-state-youre-going-to-make-it-690x690

 

 

32. SYMPATHY FOR THE AUTO INDUSTRY | HECTA  

Hecta

 

 

33. LET IT HAPPEN | TAME IMPALA

tame-impala_let-it-happen

 

 

34. DANGEROUS | PONY THE PIRATE

pony the pirate

 

 

35. XANAX | ELOHIM

elohim

 

 

36. BEAUTIFUL THINGS | HOUSE OF WOLVES

House-of-Wolves-Daughter-Of-The-Sea

 

 

37. HIGHWAY PATROL STUNGUN | YOUTH LAGOON 

500x500

 

 

38. JERRY’S DINER | BREAK UNDER PRESSURE

jerry's diner

 

 

39. TIMES TO DIE | CAR SEAT HEADREST

car seat headrest

 

 

40. BLANKET | PANTHER MARTIN

panther martin

 

 

41. THE HILLS | THE WEEKND

the hills

 

 

42. NEIGHBORS KNOCK | JEFF ZAGERS

jeff zagers

 

 

43. DESERTER | SISKIYOU

siskiyou_01

 

 

44. EXCUSE ME | NOTHING BUT THIEVES 

Nothing but Thieves

 

 

45. STRANGE ENCOUNTER | FATHER JOHN MISTY

father john misty

 

 

46. FRESHBLOOM | SUNDARA KARMA

Sundara Karma

 

 

47. SPACE SONG | BEACH HOUSE

beach house

 

 

48. TO DIE IN LA | LOWER DENS

lowerdens

 

 

49. BAD ART & WEIRDO IDEAS | BEACH SLANGBAD ART & WEIRDO IDEAS | BEACH SLANG

beach slang

 

 

50. HONEYMOON | LANA DEL REY

lana

 

 

51. ELEKTRA | REFUSED

REFUSED

 

 

52. CLOUDBUSTING | MATTHEW GOOD

MatthewGood-LG-1007

 

 

53. DRIFTING | ON AND ON

on and on

 

 

54. SUPERMASTER | A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS

place to bury

 

 

55. HALF AWAKE | PORCELAIN RAFT

porcelain

 

 

56. SHAKE IT OFF | RYAN ADAMS

ryan adams

 

 

57. CLASS HISTORIAN | BRONCHO

Broncho

 

 

58. SALVATORE | LANA DEL REY

lana-del-rey

 

 

59. SORRY | MEG MYERS

meg myers

 

 

60. I CAN’T EXPLAIN | SURFER BLOOD

surferblood

 

 

61. HOTLINE BLING | DRAKE 

hotline bling

 

 

 

62. CAN’T DO DRUGS LIKE I USED TO | VOIZES

voizes

 

 

63. KILL V. MAIM | GRIMES

grimes1

 

 

64. SICK ON MY HEART | NAI HARVEST

11183_JKT

 

 

65. FLORIDADA | ANIMAL COLLECTIVE

floridada

 

 

66. NO MAKER MADE ME | IAMX

iamx

 

 

67. BENT OUT OF SHAPE | YOUNG RIVAL

young rival

 

 

68. HERE | ALESSIA CARA

ALESSIA CARA HERE

 

 

69. SK/PI | AERO FLYNN

aero flynn

 

 

70. CHAMPIONS OF RED WINE | NEW PORNOGRAPHERS

new pornogrphaers

 

 

71. SO BLUE | MAJICAL CLOUDZ

majical cloudz1

 

 

72. RUN AWAY WITH ME | CARLY RAE JEPSEN

carly rae

 

 

73. BORED IN THE USA | FATHER JOHN MISTY

bored in the usa

 

 

74. TIMES SQUARE | DESTROYER

Destroyer

 

 

75. 100 STRANGERS | CIRCA WAVES

circa waves    

 

 

76. BAIO | SISTER OF PEARL

baio

 

 

77. I WOULD DO IT ALL AGAIN | L’AUPAIRE

laupaire

 

 

78. MONKEY TREE | MOTHER MOTHER

Mother-Mother

 

 

79. FOUNDATION | YEARS & YEARS

Years_&_Years_-_Communion_(cover)

 

 

80. PPP | BEACH HOUSE

Beach house 1

 

 

81. I WEAR GLASSES | MATING RITUAL

mating ritual

 

 

82. DEATH WITH DIGNITY | SUFJAN STEVENS

Sufjan_Stevens_-_Carrie_&_Lowell

 

 

83. THE BLUES | JAMES BLUNT 

james blunt

 

 

84. COFFEE | MIGUEL  

miguel

 

 

85. HIBOU | WHEN THE SEASON ENDS

hibou-500x500

 

 

86. MAN | ALBERT RYAN

man

 

 

87. LOS ALAMOS | MATTHEW GOOD

MatthewGood-LG-1007

 

 

88. ALSEEP ON THE BUS | BESTIE 

Bestie

 

 

89. LIONSONG | BJORK

bjork

 

 

90. I REMEMBER | BULLY

Bully

 

 

91. CARRION FLOWERS | CHELSEA WOLFE

chelsea

 

 

92. ASTRID | HAPPY HOLLOWS

happy hollows

 

 

 

93. STONEFIST | HEALTH

health

 

 

94. GOSH | JAIME XX

jaime

 

 

 

95. HOLD ME CLOSER | LANKS

lanks

 

 

96. TRAP QUEEN | FETTY WAP

fetty wap

 

 

97. JACK KNIFE | LITTLE RACER

jacknife

 

 

98. LOOK UP | MAS YSA

mas ysa

 

 

99. ALRIGHT | KENDRICK LAMAR

kendrick

 

 

100. COLD WATER | MATTHEW GOOD

matthew good 2

 

 

101. MEMORY REMAINS | OBERHOFER

oberhofer

 

 

102. 1985 (LIFTED) | PASSION PIT

passion

 

 

103. THE FRINGE | SEGO

sego

 

 

104. BEAR IN THE WINDOW | SOOP

soop

 

 

105. YES I’M CHANGING | TAME IMPALA

tame currents

 

 

106. SAGRES | TALLEST MAN ON EARTH

tallest man

 

 

107. VENETIAN SNARES | SMERSONALITY

venetian

 

 

108. HIT THE QUAN | IHEARTMEMPHIS

hit the qyan

 

 

109. CONTINENTAL SHELF | VIET CONG

viet cong

 

 

110. I DON’T THINK SHE CARES | WHITE REAPER

white reaper

 

 

111. ANNIE | NEON INDIAN

neon

 

 

112. BLASE’ | TY DOLLA SIGN

blase

 

 

113. STOP SUFFERING | TROPIC OF CANCER

tropic of cancer

 

 

114. DOWN LOW | ALEX WINSTON

alex winston

 

 

115. CIRCLES | GENTS 

circles

 

 

116. PLATES2 | AERO FLYNN

aero flynn1

 

 

117. I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR GIRL | WET

wet   

 

 

118. PLAY IT ON MY RADIO | NIKI & THE DOVE

niki dove 4

 

————————————-

 

BEST ALBUMS of 2015

1. EDITORS | IN DREAM

Editors

 

 

2. CHELSEA WOLFE | ABYSS

Front Cover Digital

 

 

3. NEW PORNOGRAPHERS | BRILL BRUISERS

brillbruisers

 

 

4. MAS YSA | SERAPH

mas ysa

 

 

5. THE VELVET TEEN | ALL IS ILLUSORY

The Velvet Teen Illusory

 

6. IAMX | METANOIA

METANOIA_cover

 

 

7. TAME IMPALA | CURRENTS

tame currents

 

8. FATHER JOHN MISTY | I LOVE YOU, HONEYBEAR

honeybear

 

 

9.  NOTHING BUT THIEVES | NOTHING BUT THIEVES

Nothing but Thieves

 

 

10. WE ARE THE CITY | ABOVE CLUB

aboveclub

 

 

11. RYAN ADAMS | 1979

RyanAdams1989-1200

 

 

12. MATTHEW GOOD | CHAOTIC NEUTRAL

matthew-good

 

 

13. BEACH HOUSE | DEPRESSION CHERRY

beach house

 

 

14. EVERYTHING EVERYTHING | GET TO HEAVEN

everything

 

 

15. TWIN SHADOW | ECLIPSE

twin-shadow-eclipse-album-cover